Does your baby get overly dramatic when putting on clothes? In that case, you have a huge battle in your hands. Nevertheless, you have no reason to panic. There are several measures worth putting in place to change the little one’s perspective. You can learn to make the cloth-wearing session a happy experience for your baby. That way, you never have to spend precious minutes arguing with the 3-year old.
Make it a Fun-Filled Activity
Your 3-year is like any other toddler in the world. They all love fun and are quite playful too. Wearing clothes can seem like a tediously boring activity. You can change that, though. For a start, consider making this a fun-filled activity. Challenge the little one to a competition to see who dresses faster.
Alternatively, consider dressing the toddler backward. In no time, the young one will be giggling and striving to rectify the situation by dressing correctly.
Fun activities worth deploying to make dressing a fun activity include:
- Putting stickers on the back of clothes and asking your kid to remove them all
- Peek-a-boo where you encourage kids to pull shirts and dresses off of their heads
Employing Reverse Psychology
Secondly, reverse psychology offers you an excellent strategy for convincing your toddler to dress alone. Here, you simply have to tell your three-year-old, “You cannot dress.” Use other variations too to challenge your little ones to show that they are capable of dressing themselves. Do it repeatedly. You can be as subtle or as direct as you want. You would be surprised to note your child is responding to the challenges. Avoid pushing them, though.
Warming the Outfits
Is the morning cold? You can be sure that your child will not be too excited about changing clothes. However, you can do something to change the little one’s mind. Warming the outfits remains the best and most effective strategy. Switch the dryer on, then toss the clothes inside to warm them up. Alternatively, consider holding them just outside a warm vent for a few minutes. Afterward, the child will feel excited, holding the toasty clothes and snuggling in them.
Give Kids Freedom to Choose
Additionally, 3-year-olds respond well when given the freedom to choose the clothes they would like to wear. As you do this, avoid presenting too many options to the kids. Instead, allow them to choose from 1-2 alternatives. Typically, too many options overwhelm kids who are unable to settle on one. Secondly, too many options confuse children, which may then be counterproductive to what you hoped to achieve.
Incentivize Your Toddler
Toddlers respond to incentives just as much as adults do. Feel free to offer any kind of age-appropriate incentive to the little one. By doing this, the kid will dress fast safely in the knowledge that a wonderful reward awaits. Furthermore, inform them that there is no treat to look forward to if they do not dress properly. Additionally, encourage this young mind to dress up before indulging in any other favorite morning ritual. Examples of incentives include:
- Consuming a favorite item during breakfast
- Watching a favorite TV show
- Getting a gold star on the kid’s behavior chart
Let Them Participate in Shopping for New Clothes
Involve the kids in the cloth-buying process. Do not limit this activity to the adults in your house alone. Instead, allow kids to take part in it too. As you do this, you will notice your kids getting invested in the dressing. More importantly, kids are invested in clothes they helped choose. At three years, your toddler has a few preferences in life, and that could include the choice of clothes too. As you offer them this freedom, remember to guide them towards:
- Super-comfortable clothes
- Clothes adorned images of stuff that the little one loves, such as trucks, dolls, favorite cartoon characters
Embrace a Bit of Goofiness
It is fine to be as goofy as possible, as long as this helps you to convince your toddlers to dress on their own. Do you know what to do to appear goofy in your child’s eyes? Ask your kids to wear socks on their hands. Alternatively, put undies or pants on the heads of your little ones. You might also want to gauge their reaction when you dress this way. How will your kids react when you wear their clothes?
- They will be shocked
- They will snatch the clothes from you
- They will wear their own pieces
Singing While Dressing
Most 3-year-olds love singing and dancing. Singing is a sign of happiness in toddlers. It also makes them feel connected and part of a clan. It also provides kids with a wonderful avenue for exploring their feelings. This simple act enables children to create lasting memories, too, while energizing them. More fundamentally, a singing parent offers the young minds a bit of distraction from the task at hand.
As previously stated, singing offers the distraction that kids need to focus on a fun-filled activity instead of paying too much attention to a seemingly boring activity like dressing in toddler clothes. It is worth reiterating the fact that distractions enable you to take the child’s focus away from the task at hand.
After all, 3-year-olds are incapable of focusing on more than one activity simultaneously. Excellent activities for distracting kids include the following:
- Playing with favorite toys
- Gazing outside the window to see neighbors taking their dogs for a bit of evening walk
Remember to act fast the moment the distraction sets in.
Zoning Them Out
Modern solutions also exist. Technology can be a powerful tool for ensuring that your child dresses fast without throwing a tantrum or acting out inappropriately. Use the TV, Smartphone, or tablet to zone your child out. To do this, you would have to turn the child’s favorite app or show on. As the young one gazes at the app/show, proceed to dress him or her up as quickly as possible. He/she will not even know what you are doing as long as the experience is painless.
Build Their Confidence, Gradually
Your efforts and encouragement will not produce the desired results immediately. Therefore, you have to exercise a bit of patience. To do this, be a bit strategic. First, encourage the 3-year old bunch of energy on how to remove or take off clothes. By doing that, you would be building the child’s confidence. Gradually, the children learn that they can do this by themselves without any outside influence. Once they master this, you can then proceed to teach them to dress.
Dress with Them
In some cultures, it might be inappropriate to dress with your kid. However, you can dress the outside garments, such as sweaters, jackets, or coats with them. Make this a joint-session or exercise. Kids love joint activities. They will love it more when you show them that you are enjoying the whole experience. Often, kids struggle to process and follow multiple auditory steps all at once. Therefore, show them how to do it, so they learn from you!
Break Everything Down and Simplify the Steps
As stated above, kids struggle to understand new stuff. They need more time to grasp everything that you are attempting to teach them. Based on this, you should endeavor to break everything down for them. More crucially, simplify the steps, so they follow what you want them to do.
The use of short and simple instructions or words works wonders in such instances. You will see massive results when you learn to label everything for them. Use words such as:
- Head hole
Complementing Spoken Instructions with Visuals
Mostly, you would need to use spoken instructions a lot. Again, this is not a problem as long as you make the instructions easy for your kids to grasp. More importantly, you also have to learn to complement the spoken instructions with a few visuals. For example, use dressing pictures or cards to show your kids how to do it. Kids learn superfast with visuals. Remember to use this strategy more if your kids mostly learn visually.
Lastly, it costs nothing for you to exercise a bit of patience with the young ones. Remember, you are dealing with a 3-year old here. With minds that are still developing, kids are not capable of grasping everything at once. Have you heard of baby steps? They apply here! For this reason, you could start by teaching them how to put on a t-shirt first. Thereafter, graduate to a buttoned shirt or dress before moving on to a pair of trousers or something slightly complex.
It is worth remembering that you are your toddler’s first teacher. What is more, you might find your kids’ teacher for the rest of their lives too. For this reason, restrain yourself from condemning them if they fall short of your expectations. Additionally, invest in simple clothes that they will not struggle to learn to wear. Fortunately, you can find the simplest toddler clothes to buy for your 3-year old today.